Today, while casually browsing through YouTube to add a few songs in my playlist , I found out that The Really Useful Group, is putting up high quality videos of Andrew Llyod Webber’s plays. I’ve always have high regards to works of Andrew Llyod Webber- his plays and songs inspire emotion, and the songs are always sang but singers with very strong and suitable vocals.
Here are some of my favourites and I will start with a little story on Starlight Express-
Starlight Express (my favourite):
Starlight Express is about many different types of trains competing to see who is the fastest. Different human characters played different types of train. If you want to know more about the show, check the explanation video here.
Even though there are many different types of powerful train- some boasting of their powers (sang in the form of songs):
- Rolling Stock
- Pumping Iron- sang by Greaseball, the diesel train
- AC/DC- sang by Electra, the electric train
In the end, guess who won the race? Not the electric train, not the diesel train, not the freight train….
But Rusty, the steam train.
During the beginning, Rusty sang the song Starlight Express- he looked up the stars – he wanted to dream and escape, at the same time, he also wondered if things are for real. He also has a love interest- Pearl, a beautiful train and the song Next Tiime You Fall In Love is sang. In Make Up My Heart, Pearl – who could not decide if she loved the Rusty the steam train (good and always make her smile) or another powerful train (strong, has style and sets the world alight). In the end, she chose Rusty and sang the song, Only You.
Finally, the song sang by Ray Shell- Light at the End of the Tunnel when the Rusty the steam is declared as the winner.
I listened to Starlight Express often when I was studying for my Form 6 pre-university exams. As the trains all rush for the competition, one can feel the rush or “kiasu-ness”- some may find some of the tracks a bit noisy- after all, there are electrical effects and sounds of trains with only very few ballads. For me, the tape somehow motivated me to study through the difficult periods of Form 6, I believe the STPM (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) one of the hardest public examinations in Malaysia. During my time, one of the only way to get a degree qualification locally is to get into a government university- if I fail the exam or do not score well, I can kiss the chance goodbye (since my family cannot afford to send me overseas). The pressure on my friends and me were enormous. Of course, life’s now much easier with the affordable 3 + 0 degree programs offered in private colleges.
The steam train sort of reminded me of myself then, that helplessness that I was feeling as I stared at volumes of revision books before me- trying to comprehend physics, chemistry, pure maths, etc. I knew I had to have faith and do not give up- and I figured if Rusty the steam train, which is one of the slowest train can make it, why can’t I? It’s an unusual approach but it worked- I managed to pass all the papers : )
The lesson I’ve learned is- whenever we find that we are faced with challenges or a seemingly difficult situation, find out what that can motivate you to go. Each one of us are inspired by different things. Find that, immerse in it when you are down. But I hope you will not choose dark songs or destructive habits.
Other songs writen by Andrew Llyod Webber:
The Phantom of the Opera
- Sarah Brightman with Steve Harley- Phantom of the Opera
- Sarah Brightman & Michael Ball- All I Ask of You
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Jesus Christ Superstar Play:
- Tim Rogers & Shona Lindsay- Love Changes Everything
- Helen Walsh- You Must Be Mistaken
- Elaine Paige- Memory (from The Cats)
- Sarah Brightman- Tell Me on a Sunday, Anything but Lonely (musical Aspects of Love)